Max Verstappen offers Mercedes starlet Andrea Kimi Antonelli advice on joining F1

The Italian driver has received some words of wisdom from Verstappen ahead of a potential move to F1 in 2025

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Max Verstappen has given his advice to Andrea Kimi Antonelli on the biggest changes he should expect if he lands a Formula 1 seat in 2025 – and dropped a hint over which team he should join.

The 17-year-old is currently racing in Formula 2 for Prema with a view to potentially stepping up to F1 next season, with Williams the most likely destination for the Mercedes academy driver as they look to replace Logan Sargeant.

The Red Bull driver has given some advice to the Italian starlet, which is mainly centred around making errors to learn from and adapting to the increased demands of driving an F1 car.

“Hopefully nothing to intimidate [Antonelli] but you’re such a rookie, you know that there’s so many things that you still have to learn,” Verstappen told select members of the media in Monaco, including Total-Motorsport.com.

Kimi Antonelli is racing in Formula 2 in 2024 | Mercedes
Kimi Antonelli is racing in Formula 2 in 2024 | Mercedes

“For me personally, the biggest one was actually doing a full race distance, like in F3 at the time, you do 35 minute races so there’s a lot more involved [in F1]. Looking after your tyres is a big part of it, these tyres are so particular and sensitive compared to some other categories. In F2 or F3 you are running Pirellis already, but for me at the time, that wasn’t the case.

“Going through the good moments and bad moments, how you come out of these things, difficult weekends, where it’s just not working for you or whatever… there’s so much to learn. But on the other hand, don’t try to think about it too much. Just let it go.”

Verstappen drops hint to Antonelli over first F1 team

Verstappen made his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2015 when he was the same age as Antonelli, and while FIA regulations prohibit drivers from racing until they are 18 now – dubbed the ‘Verstappen rule’ – Antonelli will be eligible to race from August 2024.

As such, he could also replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season and has already tested out the W13 car at Silverstone – with impressive results following from the private run.

The three-time world champion praised Antonelli as a “very talented” prospect, but hinted he would be better off starting at a lower team like Williams rather than jumping straight into the Mercedes so that he can hone his craft.

“When you’re talented, and you’re you can see that with Kimi is very talented, I don’t think you should be too worried, just make mistakes,” Verstappen added.

“You have to make mistakes. Ideally, you would like to make those mistakes when you’re not fighting for championships, so I also got lucky with that.

“Starting at Toro [Rosso], not many people are looking at you all the time. So you can make some silly mistakes here and there.

“But it’s important to make them because even though you tell yourself all the time ‘I cannot do this, I cannot do that’, you will only adapt really if you make them and then move forward.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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